I don’t have kids. I don’t have kids for a lot of reasons. In fact, I used to have a list of reasons but stopped once it reached like #1078. I’ll be honest the number one reason I don’t is that I can’t find anyone that wants to have dinner with me, let alone anyone that would have a child with me. Most people think that the reason I don’t have kids is because I don’t like kids. And that is simply not true. I’m not saying I do like kids. But I have liked some kids. My sisters have had some pretty rocking kids. Even my brother has had some pretty awesome kids, but don’t tell him I said so. I have friends with kids and some of them have good kids, one or two of them even have great kids. And I have yet to ever meet a kid that I have wanted to just slap. Now don’t get me wrong I have wanted to slap a few kids, but there has always been a reason. And the number one reason I’ve wanted to slap a kid is because that kid has parents that need to be slapped even harder than the kid.
Now before you ask where is he going with this on a blog about entertainment? I am not saying that slapping kids is entertainment. It is not. So please don’t call the FBI on me. But, it is the premise of a new show on NBC on Thursdays, The Slap. It is based on an Australian television show of the same title and from what I have read the show from down under is wonderful. I may find out for myself down the road, but right now I don’t want my opinion of the American interpretation to be tainted. NBC has advertised the show as a television event, which is network talk for “a mini-series that we want to turn into a full series, but we want to check the ratings and see if the coveted 24- 49 year old public is watching”. Apparently, they are not.
Which is understandable it’s on opposite Grey’s Anatomy and the Big Bang Theory. It’s also sad, because this show is actually good. The story is intriguing. It follows a family and their group of friends that find themselves slowly disintegrating after one of the friends slaps the misbehaving child of another at a birthday party. Now I have to be honest if I had been at this birthday party, I would have left way before the slap even occurred. Well actually I wouldn’t have gone to the birthday party because I don’t think I like any of these people. I mean I really don’t like any of these people. I dislike them so much that I would probably even stay at home to watch an episode of Oprah than go to this party. Perhaps the most fun part of watching this show is trying to find the redeeming quality of each character.
Each episode focuses on a different person that was at the party and witnessed, or participated in, “the slap”. So far we have found out that the man (Peter Sarsgaard) whose birthday was being celebrated is a conflicted man with a beautiful wife (Thandie Newton). However, the marriage has issues, not the least of which seem to be his wondering eye towards the babysitter (a bit too cliché, but it can be overlooked). The slapper (Zach Quinto), is his arrogant jerk of a cousin with anger management problems. He wants to be a loving father but being an abusive husband kind of creates issues there. One of the witnesses to the fateful event is a television writer (Uma Thurman) in her late thirties who is having a sexual relationship with the much younger star of her television show (Penn Badgley) and is dealing with maternal issues of her own. Actually as I type this I realize just how cliché it all has been, and yet it is so well acted you don’t even notice while watching.
The remaining five episodes will continue to focus on other attendees of the party. I’m most looking forward to the episode that will focus on the parents of the brat that got slapped. These parent, played by Thomas Sadoski and Melissa George, are pressing charges against Zachary Quinto’s character for assault on a minor. I personally want to press charges against them for crimes yet to be committed by their obnoxious child. Based on the parenting style we have seen so far of these two flakes, that child is going to grow up to be a total terror on everyone he comes in contact with later in life. Of course the parents are going to blame it on the slap, but I’m blaming it on the 100 slaps that the child has not had. At first I thought it was possible that we were dealing with a child on the spectrum, and if that is the case then I’ll change my opinion of the kid, but not the parent’s. Because they are living in a world I don’t want to live in. A world full of denying, touchy feely, psycho-babbling, oat bran eating idiots. I bet they love Oprah and hate the West Wing. And, if I offend with this I apologize in advance, but is breast feeding your child at age 6 or 7, really a thing?
The cast of the show is top notch. Besides those that I have already mentioned, the show has Blythe Danner, Brian Cox and Michael Nouri in supporting roles. It truly is an all -star cast and so far they have all been given great stuff to do. If I were to pick one aspect of the show that leaves me scratching my head, it’s the use of Victor Garber as a narrator for the story. It seems just a little too much. I’m not quite for sure what they are trying to accomplish with the voice over, but in my opinion it’s not needed. Although I do like the soothing quality of his voice and was surprised at how quickly I identified it.
I really do recommend the show to anyone, but I also would recommend to NBC to keep it as a limited run series. It’s an intriguing story, but there is only so much they can do with one slap. Well actually if they want to make it into a full series I guess they can tell a different story each season. Just next time have the slapper slap the parent not the child, that is really who deserves it. And I have a few suggestions on those parents…